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By David Allan Mayers

Certainly one of a decide upon staff of yankee overseas provider officials to obtain really expert education at the Soviet Union within the past due Nineteen Twenties and early Nineteen Thirties, George Frost Kennan ultimately turned the yankee government's leader specialist on Soviet affairs in the course of the peak of the chilly warfare. Drawing upon a wealth of unique learn, David Mayers' attention-grabbing lifetime of George Kennan examines his high-level participation in international policy-making and translates his political and philosophical improvement inside of a historic framework. Mayers offers an enticing and lucid account of Kennan's education; his upward thrust to prominence throughout the past due Nineteen Forties and his coverage disasters; and his later roles as critic of America's exterior coverage, suggest of détente with the Soviet Union, and proponent of nuclear fingers problem. Mayers additionally explores Kennan's advanced relationships with such vital political figures and analysts as Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, and Walter Lippmann.

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The Gothic halls and cloisters were infinitely more mysterious as they loomed suddenly out of the darkness, outlined each by myriad faint squares of yellow light. "27 In this evocative setting, socially privileged young men meet, vie for honors, and prepare to assume their appointed roles in America's aristocracy. To young Kennan, Fitzgerald's Princeton was irresistible, but his own experience was quite a different matter from the start. His scholastic preparation at St. John's was poor, and it was with difficulty—he failed two of the required entrance exams initially—and after a spell of special coaching by his sister Jeanette, that he gained admission.

Marxist dogma might have replaced Russian Orthodoxy in the twentieth century, but Kennan and Bohlen recognized that the traditional political reflexes to dominate and the intellectual pretensions to universal validity were unchanged in Russian leaders. It was apparent to Kennan that in Stalin's Russia ethical barbarism had been wedded to modern techniques of tyranny. The dictator's statecraft amounted to little more than fanatical gangsterism, unrelieved by the modern moral concern of Marx. And stubborn adherence to an ultimate vision reinforced the worst tendencies in Soviet political culture.

Worse still, he suffered greatly from and was appalled by the pervasive social snobbery, which effectively excluded him, and he spent an undistinguished four years as an undergraduate. He observed years later: "I was hopelessly and crudely Midwestern. I had no idea how to approach boys from the East. "28 Like Fitzgerald's Gatsby, Kennan found himself by reasons of regional deficiency to be unacceptable to eastern life. These traits, combined with a certain knack for romanticized self-pity, caused him to seek his own at Princeton, to get along in an ordinary, inconspicuous way.

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